Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Well, we are home from a wonderful time with our families. I haven't done groceries or planned meals yet, but here's some pictures of some knitting projects I've wrapped up in the last few months. These were not taken with my new camera, so they're not excellent quality.

Cable throw

Mini Santa hats for hand painted ornaments

Checkerboard mittens

Matching Checkerboard Cowl

Striped Scarf (finished but currently being blocked so I don't have an updated picture yet)

Linen Stitch Bookmark

I just started an easy hat for winter and in the new year, I will be learning how to knit socks!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new...

I got a new kick-butt camera for Christmas......thank you Mom-in-law!! So I will be posting some pictures very soon. Once I get to the grocery store and get creative in the kitchen...

Thank you for your patience :)

Also, I'll update everyone on my latest knitting adventures!

Monday, November 29, 2010

So not only does my camera suck, the cord to transfer pictures to the computer is broken...so hold on until Christmas and then I will be posting fabulous pictures of food.

Lunch today:

Shefu tofu bites, and carrots, broccoli and green beans, stir-fried in President's Choice Ginger Soy stir fry sauce. Served on brown rice.

Shefu is so awesome, but I can't find it here, I picked it up on a weekend trip to Toronto. Anyone know how to replicate the great texture and taste?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Update on Knitting

Hi strangers! I haven't been taking many pictures of food lately, or cooking anything terribly exciting. But I have been working a lot, which makes it okay. Just thought I'd post a quick update on my current projects!

I started a simple garter stitch (knit every row) scarf on the plane to Halifax over Thanksgiving weekend. It's quite boring but it's mindless enough for watching TV and for doing during my prep time while I supply teach. I am using up the last of this forest green yarn, which was the first yarn I ever bought.

Hubby and I were invited to a birthday party in Ottawa, and it left me only a week and a bit to make something up. Thankfully I knew a pattern that the birthday girl had admired, so that, along with finding out her favourite colours, I was able to knit up this scarf quickly for her. I think she liked it! The photo doesn't do it justice.

And, with the leftover yarn from above scarf, I have started some mittens. These are knit flat and then seamed together. I should've found a pattern that was knit in the round to challenge me a bit, but I already had the right size needles on hand :P

As for food, we have been having more sit down meals together, but they're easy things like "Chicken fingers", or A-1 "burgers" that DH makes on the BBQ. Once I've got my new camera I will be more motivated!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New food and a recipe as promised

Arborio Rice with Roasted Peppers, Basil and Pine Nuts- The Vegan Table

I cooked this tonite, after already having cooked something for dinner, because I was still in the mood to cook, and I didn't know if that would last through the week...so now I have leftovers. I ended up eating this as my dinner anyways. The arborio is so creamy, and the fresh herbs combined with crunchy (and expensive!) pine nuts is fabulous. It comes together really quickly too.

Pasta and Beans On-hand Soup- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Foods

A simple soup with chickpeas and broken up noodles, it hits the spot! I blended the soup a bit with an immersion blender to make it come together a bit better. Hubby likes!

I've got lemon bars setting in the fridge, I will get to those later this week.

As promised, here is the manicotti recipe I made last weekend.

"Meat" Manicotti

1 box manicotti

1 pkg Ground Round or approx. 1 lb TVP (prepared) *I used TVP to keep it soy-free
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/2 lb. "mozza cheese" (I used daiya)
salt and pepper
egg replacer for two eggs
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (if dry add more)

Saute "meat", onion and garlic then add next 6 ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Cook the box of manicotti according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water.
Stuff with filling (I used a piping bag to fill the tubes!).
Place shells in single layer in greased lasagna dish. Pour 2 cups of sauce over the tubes (I also mixed in some Tofutti cream cheese I had into the sauce). Top with more cheese if desired. Cover and bake for 25-35 minutes at 375 or til hot. Remove cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes.



I've been working on a blanket for the living room that features cables and seed stitch. It's knit in 5 panels or "scarves" and then seamed together...which I'm not thinking about right now...I hate seaming!

This project is going on hold for a while, as I'm working on a last minute gift for a friend.

The baby blanket I showed before is now finished and wrapped up, waiting for the shower on Saturday...I love it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Delurk yourselves! :)

Whoops...our Thanksgiving dinner of stuffed manicotti and brownies was so delicious, we ate it all too quickly before I remembered to take pictures! I will post the recipe soon though. I'm quite proud of it, as Billy ate most of the recipe including leftovers, and it's a task to try and get him to eat leftovers.

Here's an apricot loaf I made from How It All Vegan, in an effort to make recipes from some of my more neglected cookbooks. I'm not a huge fan of dried apricots, but I was gifted with a large bag of them and wanted to try them out before just tossing them. The bread itself is quite lovely, with apricot juice but next time I would drastically reduce the amount of dried fruit or substitute for one I like. If you love dried apricots, this bread is for you!

And finally, if you have been stopping by, I'm asking that you leave a comment, even just to say hi. Why? Because I'd like to say hello, and stop by your blog if you have one! Plus, it makes a girl feel good to see some comments after her hard work...ok, not hard, but still :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So despite the fact that my "good" camera died, and the only one I have takes horrible pictures...I've decided I'll keep blogging with the pictures it takes. This blog keeps me motivated to cook good meals and to try new things.

So, hubby and I were in Nova Scotia this weekend for his brother's wedding, and I didn't do any groceries before leaving, so our Thanksgiving dinner is made with things that were on hand...more on that later. Aside from giving thanks tonight, we'll also be celebrating the fact that DH got a job that starts tomorrow. I won't go into details, but it's in his field that he went to school for. We'll all very excited. I'll post our cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner later.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia (My first time seeing the Atlantic since I was a baby)

Meals before the trip were kept simple, this is a mac and cheese casserole with mozza daiya cheese and bread crumbs. Mmmmmm.

My friend and I get together every Sunday to cook some vegan food together. Last week it was jalapeno poppers (recipe follows) and stuffed mushrooms using the same filling from the poppers. I also tried a mushroom poppers recipe from The Vegan Table:

I added leftover bread crumbs on top for some crunch. These are quite nice, I would make them for parties.

Recipe for Jalapeno Poppers: (makes 32 servings, 1 serving is half a jalapeno)

1.5 containers Tofutti cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese *used daiya, shredded
1 tablespoon simulated bacon bits
16 jalapenos, seeded and halved
1 cup non-dairy milk of your choice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying (we used canola)

1. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese with the cheese and bacon bits. Spoon mixture into jalapeno halves.
2. Put the milk and flour into separate bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos into the milk and then the flour, coating well. Allow the peppers to dry 5-10 minutes.
3. Dip the jalapenos in the milk and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Let them dry again, and then repeat to ensure the jalapenos are well covered.
4. Heat the oil in a pan (enough for the poppers to deep fry, at least 4 inches). When oil is hot enough, deep fry the jalapeno poppers in batches for 2-3 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot.

These are certainly not healthy, but they're great for when you start craving junk foods you used to have!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mindful Knitting

While I was sitting in a coffee shop yesterday, alone, and working on the baby blanket that I'm knitting for a friend...I thought about the idea that our emotions and thoughts might be passed into the knitting and passed on to the recipient. What do you think?

Usually when working on this project, I'm chatting with friends at work, or watching TV, but every once in a while I think about the baby girl that will be (hopefully) wrapped in this blanket, and I wish good things for her and her mama and their future together.

My emotions at the coffee place yesterday were not so peaceful. They were...let's say turbulent. I was a half hour into being stood up by some friends that said they would meet me there, and I was alone in a busy shop. I was kind of seething about it, as it was a meeting for the book club I've been requested to run...and the last few meetings have been less than populated. I was ready to cancel book club. I stopped and reflected on the fact that I'd just knit three angry rows into the blanket, and wondered if that vibe could be passed on. I know it might be crazy, but I then resolved to not think about the issue anymore, at least not while I was knitting the blanket.

There is a book called Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning which "aims to help knitters become more meditative in their knitting practice by making them mindful of forming each stitch and passing positive emotions into the work as they knit."

I don't need to read this book to know that knitting can be a form of meditation, but I will definitely try to be more mindful in my knitting...just in case!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why, camera, why?

Well, dear readers....I think it's my camera's time to pass on. It takes one picture then freezes up and won't load them on to the computer. I have a backup camera but it takes horrid pictures. This blog is the only thing that keeps me cooking right now, because I love that I'm back to regular updates. A new camera is on my Christmas list but that's a long way away... Well, hopefully it will fix itself!

Anyways, I went shopping at Value Village the other day to see what I would find. Answer: A lot of cute clothes for teaching, an ice cream maker, and a few paintings!

Turns out the ice cream maker is missing the handle/blade but I'm going to test it out. If it doesn't work with my makeshift blade/handle, I will try to return it. If not, I will donate it back. It was only 7 dollars! I've got some mint chocolate chip ice cream mix cooling, waiting to be put into the frozen chamber...Can't wait!

I've been working 10-12 hour days the last couple of days, so not much cooking is going on!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fashion Show

No new food just yet. I'm still eating leftovers. My pistachio rosewater cupcakes went over very well at work, so I think they're a go for the baby shower next month. Tonight is the start of our girls' fall/winter cooking and knitting night, so I should have some pics soon from that.

In other news, I have finally finished (wow, its really hard to type while a dog is licking your fingers!), Dill's dog sweater. I bought this yarn because I loved the colour combo of brown and blue, but realized I wouldn't really want to wear it myself...so a doggy sweater made sense, especially since dog clothes in pet stores don't really fit dachshunds properly, and cold weather is upon us. I should've made the end of the turtleneck looser, but I think it will stretch and look more natural with wear.

The pattern is from the Stitch n' Bitch book. There's a matching human sweater, but I'm not going there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Fillets with Tartar Sauce - The Vegan Table
(and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes)
These fillets fried up beautifully, but as I dredged and prepped, I thought to myself...this tofu isn't marinaded or anything, it's just dredged in coating and dijon , will it be flavourful enough? The answer, my friends, is no. However, it is crispy, and topped with the vegenaise tartar sauce it's quite nice. Next time I will marinate my tofu using instructions from this blog post at "Meet the Shannons", which calls for marinading with miso soup and Worcestershire. I'm disappointed that you can't really taste much of the flavour in the coating which has lots of herbs and spices, and salt....

The potatoes are derived from an online recipe which I had to veganize, and they are quite nice. I've long wanted to try them, as I love horseradish.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

2.5 lbs (half a bag) Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (I don't peel, but feel free)
3/4 cup (175 mL) hot oat milk
1/4 cup (50 mL) Earth Balance margarine
4 tsp (18 mL) prepared horseradish
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 pinch nutmeg

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender; drain and return to the pot. I originally did 20 minutes and my potatoes were mildly overcooked.

With a potato masher, mash together the hot milk, margarine, horseradish, salt, pepper and nutmeg with the potatoes.

Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes- VCTOTW

I've had a bottle of rosewater in my pantry for some time now, and I've finally gotten to use it. I wanted to test these out for a baby shower I'm throwing next month, as they sound so delicate and fancy. These cupcakes are super light, so I feel that the icing is a bit heavy. In fact, after I peeled my wrapper off, it was top heavy and kept tipping. A light glaze might be in order here. Just pretty....so pretty. Anyways, the smell of the rosewater brought back a childhood memory. When we lived in Quebec, we had wild roses or something like that in our yard. And I "made" rosewater by putting a bunch of petals in a bucket with water. I thought I'd be making perfume....didn't turn out that way, but it smelled nice! So that was my random childhood fact of the day!

I had to shell pistachios to make these, and as it turns out, Dill loves pistachios! She was staring at me the entire time, tucked under my elbow hoping I'd drop one for her. Here she is doing "shake" to get a pistachio... (p.s. it took 3 months of casual daily training for her to pick up shake...sigh)


The quest continues to finish Dill's dog sweater, which meant I had to learn how to knit with double pointed needles.

Much swearing and muttering to myself later, I finally was working it out. I was presented with a cup of tea by my hubby....which I think was done to try and get me to stop sounding like a crazy person. Billy said he didn't think knitters were generally the type to swear. Au contraire, love, au contraire. :)

Here it is so far, in all it's blurred fabulousness, all that's left now is for me to knit on the cowl neck.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baking ups and downs, and more knitting!

Peanut Butter Fudge Pie- The Uncheese Cookbook

This is from one of my neglected cookbooks. The filling is delicious, the crust is not so good. Undercooked, yet I cooked it longer than the recipe called for. So we're just scraping the mousse filling off the crust. Next time I'll make it crustless, or on a graham cracker kind of crust. It's kind of like pudding.

Chocolate Chip Cookies- VCTOTCJ

Again...Billy wanted more of these cookies. I told him he's hampering my blogging style by wanting the same cookies all the time, but who am I to say no to a husband who loves my cookies? Incidentally, I got called a harlot for licking some cookie dough off my fingers and the bowl when I could've, and I quote, "Gotten out the spatula and scraped together enough for another cookie". This was followed by me eating more dough in front of him and laughing.

I've finished knitting and sewing together the top and bottom parts of the dog sweater for Dill. I hate having to sew pieces together, but if you want to knit more than scarves, it's a package deal. I still have to knit in the leg bands and the cowl neck, but I did a test fitting to make sure it actually fit.

To add in the leg bands and the neck, I have to pick up stitches, and knit in the round on 3 double pointed needles. This is a new and scary technique for me so I did a test run with some old yarn I have in my stash. I love trying out new things!

This is the finished test run. I made some mistakes, but I've watched some youtube videos and I think I'm good to go. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Awesome Breakfast

Tofu No-Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce- The Vegan Table

My first recipe attempt from The Vegan Table. This was actually easier to coordinate than I thought between all the layers and the sauce making. And it's delicious!! It would be easier to make if it was a slab of tofu, since the scrambled tofu falls off....but nevertheless it's perfectly seasoned. I would eat just the scrambled tofu from this recipe too. I had some difficulty with the sauce and it's thickening, and then there was too much lemon juice, but I managed to tweak it a bit to make it good.

I feel like I've been neglecting most of my cookbooks in favour of a select few books. I can't let them feel that way so I've decided to make my way through all of my books and make a few things from each.

Spinach Artichoke Dip- How It All Vegan

This is pretty good served with tortilla chips. I'd like it to be a bit creamier and more of a dip consistency, but it's a start.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup- How It All Vegan

I wanted to make a fall-ey soup, and felt daring, thus the apple....but it just didn't float my boat. Maybe because I used Granny Smiths and it made the soup a bit sour...I don't know. Plus it was the consistency of baby food. The picture doesn't show it well but the colour was beautiful. Also, too much pepper. When will I learn to do it to taste and not blindly follow the recipe?!?

I was going to have a baking day in the kitchen but I feel a killer headache coming on...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life's Like an Hourglass, Glued to the Table

Chocolate Chip Cookies- VCIYCJ

Billy requested chocolate chip cookies and lots of them so I made the cookies from this book since they make almost two dozen. And it helps that they're yummy. I had one after dinner last night and they are soft and chewy. Perfect!

We went out to dinner last night. We tried a new place called The Hourglass. They are mostly gluten-free, and when I looked up their menu online before making a reservation I was pleased to see a pasta dish called Very Vegan. It's gluten free penne with olive oil or marinara sauce, spinach, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, red onion & mushrooms. I had mine with marinara. It was good. Nothing superb, but once I added some s&p it was pretty tasty. It was just nice to order straight off the menu without having to make substitutions. No pictures, it was too fancy to whip out the camera!

Knitting: Finished Objects (FO's)

As promised, here are some pictures of some of the projects I've completed so far.

Technicolor Cell Phone Cozy (Pattern from Stitch n' Bitch)

This was my first attempt at knitting stripes, and I'm quite pleased with the end result. The button is a little worse for wear but that's only because I use it so much! This is knit in Bernat Cotton.

Garter and Lace Wrap ( Coats & Clark #J27-0001, Red Heart Knitting Made Easy)

I completed this a couple of months back and it has served me well at camp and at bonfires on chilly nights. I knit it in Red Heart Supersaver Black Acrylic. It was mostly done for me to practice purling and yarn overs.

On our way to the Hourglass...

It's Grocery Day, so I should have some new and exciting recipes to share with you soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just another lazy Sunday...

Just the way I like it!

For a while, we were on a green smoothie kick....why not? Delicious fruit and veggie smoothies that gave us almost our whole day's servings of fruits and veggies in one glass. But then I slacked on the groceries and we stopped for a bit. But Billy requested them again and bought the necessary supplies. You really do notice the difference from drinking these.

Raspberry Mango Green Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

3-4 handfuls of baby spinach
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 cups pear nectar
drizzle of agave (check smoothie without it first, it's probably sweet enough already)

Blend for a couple of minutes and enjoy!

I don't think I'll have any food pics til tomorrow or later, we're going out for dinner tonight!

The sun is out, I'm off for a walk with the hubby and the puppy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weiner in a blanket....and pizza

When Dill's trying to sleep and the camera comes out, she deliberately makes it hard to take a good picture! Such disdain from a ten pound being.

I'm half way done my "Big Bad Baby Blanket", I just need to finish by October 23rd in time for the shower. I should be done much sooner, because I'm itching to start new projects!! This is knit in Vanna's Choice Acrylic Yarn (Linen). Sudbury does not have a specialized shop for knitters that I can find, so that limits me to what Michael's, Zeller's or Wal Mart is selling.

Cheeseburger Pizza: La Dolce Vegan

I've made this before. It may sound bizarre, but it's delicious. Pizza with tomato sauce, pickles and onion, ground round, cheese and mustard (yep!). Don't knock it til you try it! I used soy ground round rather than TVP as a treat.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.

Damn...I just missed a few days of supply work next week by two hours :(...just had to go shopping.

I'm loving these leisurely mornings where I actually have time to cook in the morning if I want. I wanted to make something for breakfast, but ran into a few problems:
1) my cupboards are pretty bare
2) it was already 8 and I didn't want to have to bake something that would take an hour or so, plus cooling time
3) I didn't want pancakes or waffles

Picky or what? So I went on vegweb for some ideas, and found a recipe for biscuits and sausage gravy. But I didn't have the ingredients. However, it was enough inspiration.

Easy Breakfast Biscuits- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food

Biscuits and gravy! How have I never made this before? I had these straight out of the oven with a bit of margarine and topped with this simple gravy (since I had no mushrooms or miso to make any of the fancy gravies in my cookbooks). The only change I made to the gravy was to use broth instead of water.
Yumsters! Note the gravy boat in the background...I had never used it and wanted to :P

So, we live in an apartment with no yard, but we are blessed with a rather large balcony, which I have turned into my urban garden. My budget was pretty low this year, so I tried growing my flowers from seeds. Not all of them were a success. I planted my cosmos and morning glories and ended up buying pre-grown flowers for the rest. But I did use empty cat litter boxes as planters to save some money, so it all worked out.

Except, my cosmos took until September to bloom...and only one has flowered so far. So I will start earlier next year.

Cosmo (singular)

Morning Glory (I trellised my plants too late, so they did not thrive as well as they should have)

I forget the name of this one and I lost the slip with the info on it, please leave a comment if you know what it's called!

I love fall, but it saddens me that soon my flowers will come to an end...